Columbia Raiders down Oberlin Phoenix, stay perfect in Patriot Athletic Conference

MORNING JOURNAL/SAM GREENE Columbia’s Zach Stopper, right, shoots a three-pointer in the second quarter against Oberlin on Friday.

MORNING JOURNAL/SAM GREENE Oberlin guard Jason Moore drives along the baseline during the first quarter against Columbia in Oberlin on Friday.

MORNING JOURNAL/SAM GREENE Columbia guard Brandon Severo fakes toward the basket during the first quarter against Oberlin in Oberlin on Friday.

MORNING JOURNAL/SAM GREENE Columbia guard Zach Stopper drives toward the hoop during the second quarter against Oberlin in Oberlin on Friday.

OBERLIN — It may not be official just yet, but Friday night Columbia all but clinched the Patriot Athletic Conference Stripes Division crown by outlasting the Phoenix 63-54.

Coming into the game Oberlin trailed the Raiders by just two games for the top spot in the division standings and desperately needed a victory to retain any realistic shot at catching Columbia. Unfortunately for the Phoenix, they struggled all night from the field and allowed the Raiders to improve to 12-0 in the conference.

“I was pretty proud of the guys tonight. They withstood a very good Oberlin team,” Columbia coach Larry Babics said. “It was close all the way until the end, but luckily we made our free throws and did what we had to do at the end.”

Revenge was on the Phoenix’s mind, as one of Oberlin’s two conference losses came at the hands of the Raiders on Dec. 18, 63-51. The Phoenix had not lost a conference game since that night and were riding a seven-game home winning streak.

Columbia didn’t seem fazed by the hostile environment. They came out shooting 3-point shots early. The plan worked, as 18 of the Raiders’ 29 first half points came from beyond the arc.

Still they were clinging to a 29-27 lead at the break, in large part because Oberlin was cleaning up on the boards.

“They were beating us on the boards like crazy,” Columbia forward Jacob Simon said. “We needed that one guy to want the ball.”

Simon ended up being that guy.

After a rough first half, in which he scored just five points, the junior exploded in the second with 16 points to finish the with a game-high 21. Simon also pulled down 10 rebounds to help neutralize Oberlin’s advantage on the glass.

“Jacob really helped on the boards,” Babics said. “He’s so long. Sometimes he’s in our zones and we’ve got him up top, which doesn’t help our rebounding. In he second half we went a little more man-to-man and Jacob did a great job. All the guys did a better job of getting bodies on them in the second half.”

Still, Phoenix out-rebounded the Raiders 40-25.

Columbia’s streaky shooting frustrated Oberlin all night long. Each time the Phoenix would tie the game, or even take the lead, the Raiders would knock down a big three and regain the lead.

“I think that was a little demoralizing for our guys,” Oberlin coach Kurt Russell said. “In the third quarter we took the lead by one point and then Columbia came down and hit a three. I think that took away a little bit of confidence, but the kids played hard.”

As has been the case all season long, senior Jason Moore led the Phoenix in scoring with 16 points. Fellow senior Noland Isom added 14 himself, but it wasn’t enough to overcome a night where the team shot just 32 percent from the field, including being 1 of 13 from 3-point range.

“I think our guys put forth a tremendous effort, but right now Columbia is just a better ball club,” Russell said.

Now trailing Columbia by three games in the standings with just four to go, Russell said his team still has something to play for.

“We have tournaments coming up. We need to win out the regular season to gain some confidence,” he said. “The tournament is coming up, and hopefully we can gain some momentum heading into that.”

The Raiders aren’t ready to sit back and relax just yet either.

“We still haven’t won the conference. We’ve got Fairview on Tuesday,” Babics said. “If we take care of that, then we’ve at least got a tie. We can then go on to Clearview on Friday, and that’s when we want to win it, and win it by ourselves.”

Columbia 63, Oberlin 54

Patriot Athletic Conference

Stripes Division

COLUMBIA — Brandon Severo 2-3 9, Jay Banyasz 4-6 15, David Delahunty 2-0 4, Jacob Simon 7-4 21, Zach Stopper 4-3 14. TOTALS 19-16 63.

OBERLIN — Jason Moore 6-4 21, Demonte Taborn 1-1 3, Charles Lewis 3-1 8, Marcus Bailey 4-1 9, Noland Isom 6-2, 14, DaShaun Horton 1-2 4. TOTALS 21-11 54.

3-POINT GOALS — C: Severo (2), Banyasz, Simon (3), Stopper (3); O: Lewis.

Score By Quarters

Columbia (16-1. 12-0) 11 18 15 19 — 63

Oberlin (12-5, 9-3) 10 17 15 12 — 54

Team Statistics

Field Goals — Columbia 19 of 45 (42 percent), Oberlin 21 of 65 (32 percent).

Free Throws — C 16 of 21 (76 percent), O 11 of 18 (61 percent).

Rebounds — C 25 (Simon 10), O 40 (Moore 9).

Turnovers — C 9, O 8.

J.V. – Columbia 55-30


Last Updated: 2/1/2013 11:55:12 PM EST

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